OYT South bulletin 31st May 2024

OYT South’s weekly newsletter, including details of what has happened on the boat in the last week, plus short notice sailing vacancies for crew and sea staff and other ways you can get involved, and all the charity’s news.

OYT South bulletin 31st May 2024

by | May 31, 2024

In this Bulletin
Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Sea staff vacancies – for new and trainee volunteers as well as well as experienced and qualified people – including URGENT June vacancy
Please email webmaster1@oytsouth.org if you can help with any of the remaining vacancies.

People who have been newly-recommended to join the volunteers’ team: please do contact us if you are interested in suitable voyages from this list – we can advise you if a particular vacancy needs someone with more Prolific experience, but where possible this list is for you as much as it is for established volunteers. We will need to make sure your DBS, references and other paperwork is in place before you can sail. And do keep checking the list in each edition of the newsletter as people do occasionally drop out and leave other vacancies!

Dates given are when crew are on board so volunteers are generally needed the day before:

9-14 June, Southampton – at least one qualified or trainee watchleader or bosun, ideally able to join for the maintenance day on 8th June. This is a voyage with Alfreton Park Special School – young people with physical and learning difficulties sailing with adult carers. It’s always a lovely and very rewarding week with gentle sailing and lots of fun!
17-21 June, Southampton – qualified or trainee watchleader or bosun to be on standby – we’ve had an offer from someone who can’t yet be 100% sure about his availability. Crew is a school from south London (all boys).
7-13 July, Brixham – one more qualified watchleader, ideally able to help with maintenance day 6th July as well. This is a mixed individuals’ voyage.
27 July – 2 Aug, Brixham – qualified watchleader for the MACS group (young people born without eyes or with under-developed eyes)
6-10 Sept, Southampton – qualified watchleader and/or experienced bosun, ideally able to join in time for the maintenance day on 5th September. Client tbc.
16-20 Sept, Southampton – qualified watchleader. School group (new client)
14-19 Oct, Southampton – at least one qualified watchleader, ideally able to stay for the maintenance day on 20th Oct. Cowes Enterprise College.
25-29 Oct, Southampton – qualified or trainee watchleader. Swindon Scouts group.

Please email webmaster1@oytsouth.org if you would like to sail!

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* 2024 voyages available for people aged 11-25 – PLEASE SHARE – including discount offer
If all our members, volunteers, Trustees and other supporters shared our voyage availability with young people, parents, friends and colleagues, we could easily fill the rest of this year’s voyages. Don’t forget we can often find bursary funding for genuinely disadvantaged young people who couldn’t otherwise afford to sail; but we also welcome those who can afford an amazing adventure holiday!

Please share this with anyone you can think of who might be interested:

7-13 July, Brixham, 6 nights, £710 per person
3-9 Aug, Brixham to Guernsey, 6 nights, £710 per person (not including travel)
10-17 Aug, Guernsey to Poole, 7 nights, £815 per person (not including travel) – race against other sail training vessels – ideal for age 14+ – see here for more details about this exciting event.
30 Aug – 4 Sept, Brixham to Southampton, 5 nights, £605 per person

There’s a PDF flyer here – please share it!

Flyer about summer 2024 voyages

Owing to the additional costs of travel to and from Guernsey, we are looking at offering discounts to anyone who books on a Guernsey voyage and persuades a friend to book too. Contact the office for more information on “bring a friend discounts”. We would also discuss discounts for anyone who booked on two back-to-back voyages, out to Guernsey and back again.

Passports will be needed for the voyages starting or ending in Guernsey, which may also visit a French port; and other voyages MAY go to France if we are lucky with the weather, so passports will be needed there too.

No previous sailing experience needed – all we ask is that you come prepared to join in and make friends!

Feedback from last year included:

The experience was fantastic, I was able to achieve the uttermost of my ability. I got the chance to work as a team in hoisting the sails and cooking the food. Overall it was a spectacular trip and made me appreciate the challenges of sailing at sea. I hope this isn’t my last trip.”

“The trip was insane. The views was insane and the people I travelled with made it an incredible experience. It is hard work, but if you soldier through that you’ll find that the trip was a diamond.”.

“I would like to mention the incredibly friendly, energised and cheery sea staff who were always just to fun to be around. Overall, the trip was a great experience I’d recommend to everyone :)”

“A huge thank you to the crew of the Prolific for such a fantastic opportunity. My son was very nervous about the prospect of a trip where he knew no-one, but he really enjoyed it and got a huge amount from it. I’m very grateful to you all for such a great experience for him.”

RYA sailing qualifications and DofE Gold Residential voyages available.

More information here on sailing with us.

For individual bookings on youth voyages, please contact VoyageAdmin@oytsouth.org.

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* Volunteers’ Week – coming soon, and we need stories from volunteers past and present!
Volunteers Week this year runs from 3rd – 9th June – a great chance to recognise, celebrate and thank all our amazing volunteers as well as inspiring other people to get involved.

There’s a page here on our website where people explain why they volunteer for OYT South and what they get out of the experience; We’ve had some great new contributions recently but we could really do with a couple more in order to do something on social media for every day of Volunteers’ Week. This is for anyone who has volunteered for OYT South – whether that means sailing on our voyages, helping in the office, maintaining Prolific, raising funds, or spreading the word to new potential clients. We would like to recognise current volunteers but also those whose efforts in the past made the charity what it is today, even if your volunteering days are long behind you! Please have a look at the page and send your own story to webmaster1@oytsouth.org. Thank you!

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* Voyage news
The last newsletter came out just as the voyage with Muntham House School was ending, too soon for us to include their feedback. Their comments included:

“I feel like my favourite part would be just like spending time with everyone and having … just really a really fun and memorable time of my life … Memorable part: probably just like chilling out on the front of the boat last night and just having like really cool conversations with everyone … It surprised me how fun and lovely this trip was, I would be recommending this to my friends! Thanks for it all!”

Amazing trip loved it helped me get over my fear of the ocean and fear of new spaces. Thanks to the crew for an amazing time … I think the best bit was being with everyone here, and being together as a group.”

“I have learnt a lot about myself and the boat, I am going to miss everyone! … The most memorable bit was when I got philosophical with Mr T [school staff] on the bowsprit – that was good, that was nice.”

“Most memorable was probably the experiences that we all shared together .. It’s been great to meet people. I’ve learnt and matured.

“It was sooooooooo goooooood 🙂 :)”

Very nice trip I enjoyed the sailing and had fun with all my peers all the crew was amazing and understood us. I would love to come back for another trip.”

The school staff who came with them added:

“The most memorable bit was seeing you all overcome certain things that you struggled with … You’ve represented yourselves really well, so yeah, I’m really proud of you all for that.”

“Brilliant trip, fantastic opportunity for our young people. Thank you!”

“I’ve loved this experience, it’s been one of the best for me really. I loved just getting to know everyone out of school and bonding really … Awesome voyage!! I loved it and enjoyed the experience learnt a lot about sailing. The crew were excellent and kind, answered all my silly questions. CAN I LIVE ON THIS BOAT PLEASE!! :)”

“Thank you for making this an amazing experience! I have enjoyed myself so much and it has inspired me to get my sailing qualifications! You guys rock!”

Helming at sunset

And a final bit of news from this voyage – congratulations to Ed Gordon-Thomson who successfully completed his bosun assessment!


That was followed by a short voyage for the first part of half-term, with the east London charity Ambition Aspire Achieve. For many years they have booked a voyage in the October half-term so it was nice to see them in the sunshine this year! They chose a group where the young people mainly had special educational needs, with some good group leaders to support them.

They joined on Saturday and after introductions and briefings, made their way to Cowes with winch drills under way. In Cowes, Lucinda led a successful game of Mafia. On Sunday, they had showers, shore leave, hot chocolate and ice-cream. Then they went for a sail in a blustery Force 6-7 under mizzen and staysail, and the crew did very well indeed – there were some superstars on the helm this week.

AAA crew member at the helm, supervised by watchleader Glyn AAA at the helm, supervised by watchleader Anna.

They anchored for the night in Ryde and watched a film – and those who were still awake enjoyed going on deck to look at the stars and the shore lights.

On Monday they got up and had a fire drill, which involved looking at some of the emergency kit – life-rafts, flares, grab bags etc:

AAA crew gathered on deck during a fire drill, with safety equipment in the foreground

Then they hoisted main and mizzen at anchor – the mainsail folds held quite a lot of water which all landed on one young person’s head … luckily he saw the funny side! They then had a good sail in the eastern Solent, again with some excellent helming, and had a man overboard recovery drill.

Coiling the downhaul into a figure-of-eight Two watchleaders supervise three young people at the winchesCrew member at the helm in a captain's hat! Skipper Andrew smiling as one of the AAA group takes the helm AAA crew member at the helm with watchleader Glyn

They got into Haslar that evening and had some shore leave and then fajitas for dinner followed by extreme washing up – Glyn the reigning champion narrowly beating Anna the young challenger!

Tuesday saw an early start and breakfast under way as they headed back to Ocean Village where the voyage ended after 68 miles – you can see the voyage track here.

AAA crew with their voyage certificates

Comments included:

I’m so privileged. It has been so, so, so, so, so amazing, brilliant, fabulous and fantabulous, marvellous, lovely, superb and wonderful and superb time.”

“I loved the whole experience, especially how welcoming and fun the crew were.”

“My most favourite bit of the trip has been doing the sails in the wind and the rain – I thought it was quite funny but everyone else seemed to hate it.”

I liked the boat, the food, captaining the boat. I also liked putting on the lifejacket and the waterproofs.”

There was a big achievement for one young person: I was missing my mum and was sick … I wanted to go home but I stayed!”

The leaders added:

My favourite part of this trip was getting to see the young people I work with on a regular basis achieve things that I always kinda knew they were capable of doing but never actually saw them doing it. That was amazing to see … My most memorable bit was seeing you guys all helping to raise the sails and lower the sails … The sailing experience was excellent, the staff were open to adapting the trip and preparing things for the young people on board and their needs.

I just want to say a big thank you for a wonderful support you have given us all, the food was amazing, and I have learned a lot about the boat.”

Big thanks to sea staff Andrew Wilkes, Josh, Miranda Camping, Glyn Collins, Lucinda Neall, Clara Theil and special congratulations to Anna Owen who was upgraded to second mate at the end of the voyage!

Anna Owen

The current voyage is with looked-after children from Kent. They joined on Wednesday and sailed to Cowes, where had dinner, games and time to fill in their personal logbooks. In the morning they had shore leave and ice-creams and then sailed to Lymington and had more shore leave and more ice-creams! They also saw a lovely sunset. This morning they were heading for Worbarrow Bay under two reefs, and skipper Andrew says they are a lovely group and doing very well … it’s never too choppy for biscuits:

Watchleader Graeme and the biscuit barrel! Two crew members watching the sea and the distant coastline under a blue sky with white clouds

Big thanks to sea staff Andrew Wilkes, Rooby Vaughan-Woods, Josh, Lucinda Neall, Graeme Findlay, Tori Pickles and Simon Brammer. More on the remainder of their voyage in the next issue!

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* Millie and Jake’s amazing fundraising cycle
Update on Millie and Jake from Ned’s Fund and their amazing fundraising efforts for us!

They started at 0445 on Tuesday and cycled the entire 100 miles of the South Downs Way in a day, ending in the late evening. A hundred miles of cycling, with all the hills, would be impressive enough, but it was even harder than that sounds:

– They were often cycling on wet grass or stony paths – this was not a road cycle!

– They wanted to end in Winchester, near Millie’s home, which meant Eastbourne to Winchester and not the other way round … and that meant they faced 30-knot headwinds while cycling uphill!

– The weather was appalling, with rain and fog. Jake, a New Zealander, had hoped to see the English countryside along the way, but most of the time there were no views at all.

– They did most of their training in Majorca! (Millie said “We didn’t do enough training!” and Jake said “I wouldn’t like to cycle the South Downs in winter…”)

It really was very tough but they have raised over £1,500 already and their fundraising page is still open – so please share if you know anyone who might support them. The money will all go towards voyages for disadvantaged young people who wouldn’t have the opportunity to sail with OYT South without help!

Millie and Jake posing in their OYT South shirts! Jake and Millie in cycling gear with a bike Millie and Jake approaching in fog on a rough track

Huge thanks to Millie, Jake and Ned’s Fund. And here’s hoping that the young people who benefit from their efforts are luckier with the weather than Millie and Jake were, and that they get to come on a voyage which isn’t all about the cold and the wet, headwinds and poor visibility!

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2024 voyages available for adults
Adult voyages are ideal for current volunteers who want a bit more experience, or an opportunity to enjoy sailing and to focus on their own skills, without supervising young people and helping them to do all the fun tasks on board instead of having the chance to do them yourself! Adult voyages are also used to select and train new volunteers, as well as for other adults who simply want to come for a holiday or to enjoy sailing Prolific. Please note that people aged 18-25 can sail on either youth voyages or adult voyages; but adult voyages are the only option for those over 25 who are not yet volunteers with the charity.

There is one adult voyage left this year:

11-13 Oct, Southampton, 2 nights, age range 18+, £255 per person, adult weekend voyage (Friday evening to Sunday evening)

For adult bookings and volunteer training / selection voyages, please contact SeaStaffAdmin@oytsouth.org.

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2024 AGM – a date for your diary
Advance notice that OYT South’s 2024 AGM date has been set for 9th November.

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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to the TK Foundation for a very generous contribution to Skipper and Engineer salaries, and to the Aumund Foundation for another fantastic donation for bursaries for disadvantaged young people.

We need a regular flow of funds to cover at least three major areas: bursaries for young people who could not otherwise afford to sail; vessel maintenance and equipment; and staff salaries – please help, or pass on our details to anyone you come across who might make a grant, large or small.

See here for how to make a donation – you can contribute by cheque, phone or PayPal, but please do something if you possibly can. Don’t forget that if you complete and return a Gift Aid form we can claim back tax on your donation.

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* Maintenance days – please help – next one is 8th June
We have several planned maintenance days during the season – these are essential to keep Prolific in working order and avoid losing voyage time to maintenance issues. We need all the help we can get, both skilled and unskilled – there are easy jobs for people not used to boat maintenance, or maybe we can teach you a useful new skill!

Please put these dates in your diary:

Saturday 8th June – Southampton
Saturday 6th July – Brixham
Thursday 5th September – Southampton
Sunday 20th October – Southampton

If you call the boat on 07990 518915, or email refit@oytsouth.org, we can get you booked in for maintenance days. We can feed you on board and probably offer accommodation the night before or after if needed. Generally we need over-18s, or 16 and 17-year olds who are sailing as bosuns or trainee bosuns.

Sea staff on the voyages immediately before and after these days should plan to include the maintenance day as part of your booking unless specifically agreed. If we don’t have enough people at a maintenance day and there are significant jobs to do, it might even affect the start of the next voyage, so please do make sure you are available to help!

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Prolific earrings inspired by a crew member
These very special earrings were designed by Vurchoo based on a drawing by a Prolific crew member and with part of the proceeds coming to us to support our charitable work! You can read the full story here.

£40 in either gold or silver – click the pictures to see how to buy them.

Gold earrings Silver earrings

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Raise funds for OYT South if you’re shopping online
we’ve made over £2,000 through Easyfundraising!
“What a fool I was!” says Mark Todd.

“For ages I’ve seen in the bulletin that Easyfundraising is a good way to raise money for charity, but I never got round to doing anything about it, and when Caz told me how easy it was, I didn’t listen.

I thought it might be a hassle, or that I’d have to remember to do something when I bought stuff online, or that it probably wasn’t really worthwhile.

This week I finally got round to it and it turns out it’s a REALLY EASY way to raise money for the charity I care about … and I definitely should have done it sooner.

It takes a minute or two to sign up; you can do it on a desktop, tablet and/or phone, and you can install a widget that flags up when a donation is available. Once that’s done, imagine you’re looking to buy – say – a rainbow unicorn: just put “rainbow unicorn” in your usual search box, and the list of results shows you which sites come with donations, and how much. It’s up to you what to pick and whether to accept the donation from the site, but a huge choice of sites will offer a donation – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner … but if there’s anyone else who has been like me and just not got round to it, PLEASE click the link now and sign up!”

We have already raised over £2,000 through Easyfundraising – huge thanks to everyone who has used it!

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OYT South social media – please share as well as liking!
If you look at the top left of any page on our website, you can click on icons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. We are also on TikTok. Please share our social media posts as widely as you can – with the help of all our supporters, this charity is doing some amazing work and we need more people to hear about it. You don’t need to do anything more than share a post, or perhaps add a comment which could be as simple as “I’ve sailed with this charity!” or “I volunteer for this charity!”.

Please note that OYT South has a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept personal online connections with crew members aged under 18, or vulnerable adults. Crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual staff and volunteers.

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Branded clothing
OYT South branded clothing available – please see here. You can buy hoodies (in a wide range of colours), fleeces, short- and long-sleeved t-shirts, baseball caps, beanie hats, polo shirts and more, all with OYT South’s logo!

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Office new address
Please note our new address is:

Unit 2
Endeavour Building
Shamrock Quay
Lower William Street
SO14 5QL

Phone number, email addresses etc. are not changing.

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New readers’ welcome and introduction
If you have recently registered your interest in OYT South, welcome to our newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday, and is also copied onto the website.

If you have just started receiving this newsletter by email, it is because we believe you have signed up and consented to receive it – perhaps by emailing us to ask for it, completing a form on our website, or adding your email address to the book on board where people can sign up to receive news, as well as leaving comments. If this was a mistake or you simply decide you want to stop receiving the newsletter, just press “reply” to the email and write UNSUBSCRIBE at the top, or email webmaster1@oytsouth.org asking to unsubscribe.

Each week the newsletter includes a wide range of news from the boat and from the charity, including details of voyages available for young people; adult voyages; opportunities for adult volunteers both ashore and afloat, and much more. We find that while some people read the bulletin almost every week, many others dip in and out, and read it when it’s convenient – which is why some items are repeated. New items are marked with an asterisk * so that if you did read it last week, you can see which sections you can safely skip.

Please feel free to join in any OYT South activities – nothing here is restricted to long-standing members or people who already know one another. New people are always very welcome!

If you need an introduction to the work of OYT South, you should find a lot of useful information on our website. But essentially, we are a registered charity (no. 1079959) which exists to offer adventure under sail as a personal development opportunity for young people aged 11-25, from the widest possible range of backgrounds. A high proportion of our young crew members are disadvantaged or deserving in some way: many of these sail in groups organised by other charities, youth clubs, special schools and so on, and will fill the bulk of our term-time voyages. But those from more fortunate backgrounds are also welcome to sail, either in groups or by coming as individuals on a mixed voyage. Every year we run a variety of shorter local voyages plus longer adventure trips – sometimes including Tall Ships races during the summer holidays. If you are aged 11-25 and hoping to sail as a crew member, take a look here – and this section is also useful for adults who are thinking of organising a voyage for a young person. Adults planning to organise a full group voyage should also see here. Adults who want to sail themselves should see here.

We have a professional staff skipper, mate and engineer, but our watch leaders are normally all volunteers, who combine sailing skills with an interest in working with young people. You can find more information here – how the system works, how to join, and profiles of existing staff and volunteers.

To volunteer for OYT South ashore, please see here. To help with the vessel’s annual refit, see here.

It is a very expensive business maintaining a boat, running an office and employing staff. If you want to help us, please become a member of OYT South. Or see here for information on making a donation.

If you have any questions, please do email – or contact the office.

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Receiving this newsletter by email
Many thanks to all those who have given consent to receiving this newsletter by email. If you are not currently getting it by email and would like to, please just click here Newsletter Subscribe and press “send”, or email webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

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